Barb Saba

Executive Director

Valley Crisis Pregnancy Center
Pleasanton, California

When did you first start in the Pregnancy Center ministry?  

I started in 1983.

How were you drawn into the ministry?

After 25 years in Corporate and five years in Christian ministry volunteering, I knew that God was calling me to full time ministry. I just wasn’t sure where. I then became a part of  a steering committee at the church I was attending that was dealing with the issue of life. If we believed in the value of life how could we help people in our community to make life choices and what were we willing to do? Because of my own life story, I was drawn to be that place that would help women make informed choices.

It has been said that the average tenure for Executive Directors in the Pregnancy Center ministry is three years.  What has contributed to your longevity in the ministry?

Passion for what I do and the vision to continue and build a succession plan and to help put in place the right people to move it forward.

How has your longevity made a difference at your Center?

I think my longevity had helped establish continuity with donors, in the churches and the community. Being the face of the Center for so many years has made a huge difference. It has also provided the ability to choose and train the people you hope will succeed you.

What have been your greatest struggles in leading and directing over the years?

Being on the journey alone without a spouse. It has been hard not having that person to hold you up, support you with a hug and a prayer. I recognize, however, it would be worse if you were not put together to accomplish more as a team than alone. I have lost, to death, some of the most significant people who were mentors and the people that you could be truly transparent with. I have come to that place of knowing that I stand alone, but I stand alone with an almighty God.

Being event driven to raise money instead of focusing on people and the cause.

Who have been your mentors? What have been your sources of inspiration and help over the years?

Other Pregnancy Center Directors who have gone the distance and successful church leaders who have let me “shadow” them, and most of all Jesus.

When we train volunteers, we tell them the call to this ministry is bigger than ministering to women and their unborn children. We remind them the Lord has called them, for such a time as this, to transform them more into the image of Christ. How has the Lord transformed you more into the image of Christ through the Pregnancy Center ministry?

It has grown my faith beyond anything I could imagine, it has helped me be more open, flexible, caring, less controlling, trusting, built confidence in who I am in Christ and what I am capable of because of Him. It has given me the gift of women who are the most treasured gift in my life as we serve together and a family in Christ that I can’t imagine not having in my life. I have learned so much from my clients about strength, love and courage. We all think we come to serve, to change someone else’s life, but God changes us as we give our time, treasure and talents.

If you could change one thing about the Pregnancy Center ministry (past or present) what would that be? 

       Past: To think outside the box of the Pregnancy Center ministries for development instead of, for so many years, attending the same conference trainings with the same teachers teaching the same thing in the same way. Because there is such a turnover in Center's staff around the country, when attending national conferences, it was always like starting from the beginning.

Present: I would love to see representation in California and the West Coast for Board development and training, legal issues, etc. and to have regional conferences that all staff can attend on this coast so we can afford to have a presence. It is too disconnected having everything on the East Coast which results in no real relationship.

What would your hope or vision for the future of the Pregnancy Center ministry?

That we would be recognized as the Centers of hope and healing in our communities for women, men and families faced with pregnancy and life-related issues.

What pieces of wisdom might you pass on to those who are just entering the ministry?

  • Pray.
  • Know that you are called.
  • Have a great prayer support team and make sure you know what your expectations are of yourself and others and what their (especially the Board) expectations are of you. Do you have all the responsibility and no authority?
  • Value all those you serve with and they will value you.
  • Don’t think you can do it all. Have Aarons holding up your arms.
  • Trust God.
  • Don’t be a human doing, but a human being. By that I mean, when we are “being” with Him we automatically "do" in Him and can accomplish so much more. This sounds simple, but once you try juggling so many balls it is too easy to get side-tracked “doing” for Christ and forget about "being" in Christ.

When all is said and done, what a legacy would you like to leave at your Pregnancy Center?

An ongoing living legacy. A legacy that declares the faithfulness of an almighty God. A legacy of thousands of children saved and hundreds giving their lives to Christ. It is a legacy of building life and hope into a community through all those who give and serve.

How long have you been using Equipped to Serve Training?

Gosh I don’t even know how many years now. When did you first put it together Cyndi? You were still a Pregnancy Center Director in Baltimore when we began using the Equipped to Serve training material. You had just released the training which would make it probably around 1995.

Why is it your training material of choice?

Equipped to Serve is so comprehensive and has a more in-depth way of presenting the counseling skills, but more important the very heart of presenting “the call from God”, the compassion and love to the client and how to most effectively do that.